TechStars Days: Yahoo Day
This is the final day of my TechStars Days series of posts.
Greg talked a little about Yahoo’s current focus, Making Yahoo relevant to how users manage their digital life. Yahoo is working on becoming dominant in the advertising market by leveraging its 500 million plus users. Lastly it is focusing on opening Yahoo up to allow others to build on and with Yahoo. Greg spent most of his time talking about Yahoo’s Open Strategy, which is one framework for developing applications with Yahoo. The open strategy will include single user accounts, profiles, user records, and authentication APIs. This would all be supported by a single standard for consuming web services and supported by code from YDN (Yahoo Developer Network). We got a peek at the Yahoo Social API which is built on top of Open Social, supporting all of the Open Social standard, but also additional APIs. It was interesting to see how Yahoo really wants to transform its image to show that it is a social network and has always had the social abilities, it just never presented them.
I saw Eric speak at TechStars for a Day, and it was funny to hear his story a second time. Eric just showed up and winged it, he has no prepared talk, slides, or real agenda. He goes off on tangents to talk about whatever he feels like discussing. He likes to apologize for his lack of style and ramblings, but it always turns out to make for one of the most interesting and blunt talks. I will just list out some of the key points from the discussion the TS teams had with him. MyBlogLog was a part of Yahoo Day because Yahoo eventually acquired the company.
- MyBlogLog did one thing originally, track outgoing links, but did it well
- Keep a narrow focus, the first version only had 3 different pages for the app
- Engage the community. Eric emailed the top 150 (or so) bloggers. Sending each blogger a personal email about what MyBlogLog did and why they should care (He received a 10-15% response rate)
- MyBlogLog being stats had no viral component, it needed something users could see, this idea slowly led to the widget.
- 6-7% would pay for a pro version, which was the same except it gave real time stats
- Don’t always add more features sometimes find the market that wants the features you already have.
- Launch quickly and get feedback, show people something even if it is half baked and rough
- To engage mentors, try to be responsive to any of their first even small comments, because if you react to them and show them changes they are more likely to discuss and become involved with your idea
- After selling a first company successfully, you have a platform / reputation to help build another company
I would like to thank everyone that came and talked with us at TechStars, trust me, it was a great learning experience. I am sure I will be reading through my notes time to time in hopes of keeping myself on track. I know my attempt at writing about the experience doesn’t really do it justice, but I figured I should try to share some of the experience gained.